An interesting take on stocking levels...

AbbeysDad

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I feel that the linked Aquarium Co-Op video is very good. Experienced fishkeepers can keep many more healthy, happy fish than novices.
It goes without saying that improper or inadequate stock levels and/or tank/filter maintenance can and often does spell disaster for 'pet fish'... but then this is true for all pet animals. And frankly, fish all to often get little respect. A dog or cat dies and a family is heartbroken, but a fish dies and few bat an eye.
But the bottom line is true - if you have sufficient bio-filtration and good tank maintenance, you can have more fish. However, fewer fish in a given tank yields a larger safety margin to maintain a stable high water quality. It may be a shameless plug, but I have many articles on Filtration and Water Quality that are worth a review.
 

Byron

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While there is some good info in this video, there is also unfortunately some very inaccurate and misleading data. Judging how many fish by nitrates level is not the way to go. And not considering the needs of the individual species with respect to numbers is a major flaw; this is first and foremost the most important factor one should consider. Example, if species "x" needs ten fish to be normal, then the size of the aquarium must be suited to ten of that species.
 

WhistlingBadger

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Thanks for sharing, Bruce. This video is quite good. Those three criteria, bioload, swimming space, and aggression level, are a very good place to start.

Any objections I have are just details. For example, test strips are notoriously inaccurate, especially (in my experience) for nitrates. They're better than nothing, but liquid tests are much more accurate. Also, 40-50 ppm nitrates seems awfully high to me. She doesn't mention water hardness or temperature compatibility, which are important for some species but less so for others.

She does mention that one should research minimum fish numbers that can be kept together, so I don't see a concern there. For a beginning hobbyist who is a reasonably responsible person and who is willing to research a species' individual needs, this is a very good overview of the major considerations.
 

AbbeysDad

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While there is some good info in this video, there is also unfortunately some very inaccurate and misleading data. Judging how many fish by nitrates level is not the way to go.
I would rarely. if ever, contradict you Byron, but... nitrates is our only measure of water quality so I feel one could make a case that if/when the bio-load is such that nitrates remain low (aka water quality is high~) then that's not bad. Also I think the video does touch on species numbers just not in great detail. If I was to quibble about the video it might be that the suggested nitrate level of 40-50ppm is higher than would really be desired. (Personally I'd say 20ppm or higher deserves a partial water change along with more/better tank/filter maintenance.)
 
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Bruce Leyland-Jones

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I would rarely. if ever, contradict you Byron, but... nitrates is our only measure of water quality...
Not wanting to be pedantic, but there are surely other ways to supplement nitrate measurement. ;) For example, the water parameters may appear perfect, but fish are still 'resting' or singing with the Choir Celestial and pining for the fjords.
 

Byron

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A chain is only as strong as its weakest link. Instructional videos are similarly only as good as the information they contain. Some of us can easily differentiate between the accurate and inaccurate, what's missing, etc, but then we are not likely to be "using" the video; the beginning aquarists who will likely rely on such videos cannot differentiate.
 
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Bruce Leyland-Jones

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A chain is only as strong as its weakest link. Instructional videos are similarly only as good as the information they contain. Some of us can easily differentiate between the accurate and inaccurate, what's missing, etc, but then we are not likely to be "using" the video; the beginning aquarists who will likely rely on such videos cannot differentiate.
Oooooh, I dunno. I think I could stuff at least another dozen fish in my tank, as long as I keep an eye on the nitrates and change the water more often than I already do.
Mwa-haha-haaaaaaaa!:devil:
 

AbbeysDad

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Oooooh, I dunno. I think I could stuff at least another dozen fish in my tank, as long as I keep an eye on the nitrates and change the water more often than I already do.
Mwa-haha-haaaaaaaa!:devil:
Well, at some point overcrowding is a problem, but up to that point, if the water quality is high the fish remain healthy and grow. As evidenced by breeders tanks with flow through systems not to mention the huge schools of fish in natural waters. Then again, in the average home aquarium, fewer fish is typically better.
 
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Bruce Leyland-Jones

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Well, at some point overcrowding is a problem, but up to that point, if the water quality is high the fish remain healthy and grow. As evidenced by breeders tanks with flow through systems not to mention the huge schools of fish in natural waters. Then again, in the average home aquarium, fewer fish is typically better.
This is where you, I and the Newbie would then differ.
I agree with what you're saying to a point, but would argue that there's more to the life of a fish than simple growth and that, for me, 'healthy' would include 'healthy' behaviours that are rarely, if ever, seen in breeder's tanks. Schools of fish in 'natural waters', whilst shoaling and schooling, do have more space to explore and, apparently, explore it they do. They can't do this in a breeder's tank and they can't behave naturally in a packed aquarium.
Obviously, our glass boxes are a long, long way from anything natural and my concern remains that it would be theoretically possible to really pack a tank, whilst keeping nitrate levels down to an acceptable level and, just because we can, doesn't mean to say that we should.
There's also that ethos of balance and, whilst balanced, everything seems to tick along nicely. However, the more finely balanced the system, the greater the risk of a cascading catastrophic collapse, should just one small thing go awry.
 

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A chain is only as strong as its weakest link. Instructional videos are similarly only as good as the information they contain. Some of us can easily differentiate between the accurate and inaccurate, what's missing, etc, but then we are not likely to be "using" the video; the beginning aquarists who will likely rely on such videos cannot differentiate.
This video is only about "how many fish can I fit in my tank." It does not address (and does not claim to address) things like temperature, aquascaping, hardness, school size (although she mentions that) and the many, many other factors that go into setting up a healthy habitat for a given species.

What specific inaccuracies are you referring to? I don't see any huge inaccuracies in the video except for the couple of quibbles I mentioned. Am I missing something? There are omissions, but there have to be. To me, complaining about the omissions would be like complaining to Abbyesdad that one of his articles about the filtering value of live plants doesn't say anything about the role of snails.

No one video covers it all. That's why we keep telling newbies to do their research. :) This vid is about a very specific topic, and it seems to cover it quite well.
 

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WhistlingBadger

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You said it all, my friend! ha ha I always appreciate your emphasis on natural processes and how to recreat them in the tank. That's really what I go for in my tanks: A small-scale ecosystem that works more-or-less the same way a large-scale system works. It's what makes the hobby so fascinating for me.
 

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